“Hey, what’s that noise?” I asked. Peeper looked up, her eyes wide. She turned to look out the window. “Let’s go see!” I said. I figured we had to do this one thing before we said goodbye summer.
As quickly as I could, I got our shoes on, picked up Kiwi and dashed outside. The metallic tinkling tune was fading as its source moved farther away. Undeterred, I hurried us along the quiet street.
Then, to my relief, the cheerful song got louder. And then we saw it: the ice cream truck.
A few times this summer, the ice cream truck has stopped in our neighborhood. The driver must have known about the groups of kids who rove through our block. They play chase, ride scooters, flirt and let the summer afternoons drift by as if time did not exist.
Yet I hadn’t taken my girls out to have their first ice cream truck experience. The truck always seemed to come right before nap time. Or, more honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with the sugar buzz, no matter the time of day.
But summer is coming to a close. Before we said goodbye summer, I wanted the girls to say hello, cream truck!
Childhood ice cream trucks
I grew up on a quiet hill, riding bikes with the neighborhood kids and exploring the tangles of forest that grew around us. And occasionally, an ice cream truck would stop by.
Hearing its siren song, I’d grab my plastic pink purse and race outside barefoot. I would stand in line with the other kids. While I waited, I’d decide what I wanted: a rocket pop? strawberry shortcake bar? fudgecicle? There were so many delicious options!
But really, the ice cream itself was secondary. The experience of buying a treat for myself was thrilling. Because we never knew when the ice cream truck would show up, the surprise was as delicious as a melting popsicle on a hot day.
Savoring sticky, sweet afternoons
When we flagged down the ice cream truck driver, Peeper was elated. Her eyes grew big as she looked at the pictures of fluorescent popsicles and peanut-covered ice cream cones. She chose hers, and I ordered one, too.
We walked back to our yard to enjoy our treats where it didn’t matter if we were covered in sticky drips. Peeper ate her popsicle methodically, as she approaches all food. And she didn’t even make it past the first color on the rainbow pop before she declared her tummy was full of popsicle.
Kiwi, on the other hand, lunged at my ice cream. She protested until I finally gave up and handed her the stick. She polished off my treat and then looked around for more.
Reluctantly, goodbye summer
I’m not quite ready to say goodbye summer. It feels as if the long days and weather that begged for a sprinkler session just got here. We spent relaxed afternoons in the front yard not caring how soaked our clothes got because we’d just dry off in the sun; we brought snacks and ice tea to the yard instead of heading inside for meals; we took evening walks when we should have been starting bedtime routines because it was still light out—and because we could.
Our summer together wasn’t frivolous or wasted, though. I learned so much about my girls.
I learned that Peeper can write her name and Kiwi can say 100 different things through the word “mama.”
I learned that Peeper dreams of someday doing a cartwheel and Kiwi can’t wait to run.
I learned that Peeper is afraid of shadows cast by her laundry basket and Kiwi cries when her big sister does.
And I learned that sometimes—naps be damned—a visit to the ice cream truck is entirely worth it.